Saturday, July 26, 2008

Why I Want to Be a Counselor

Life experiences shaped the way that I see the world. I would not be the person that I am today it was not for the trials and tribulations that I encountered in my lifetime. Misery was not the only attribute that shaped my worldview, but it was definitely the most inspiring in determining my path in choosing the educational path in Counseling. I pursued a degree in Mental Health Counseling because of my unfaltering concern of the wayward ways of today’s youth and its affect on our communities and our society’s future. I have seen first hand on how the moral decay of today’s society has affected our youthful populations and I feel that by becoming a Mental Health Counselor, I will be able to make positive changes in our communities and therefore our communities’ futures.
Before I came to Webster University, I was already working in the field of Mental Health as Residential Team Counselor Coordinator at Alternative Behavioral Services in Summerville, South Carolina. I received my Associates of Arts in Human Services from Trident Technical College and my Bachelors of Science at Springfield College. There was a point on my journey to further my education that I was discouraged and almost chose a different educational path. My internships at Goodwill Industries and Department of Social Services were disheartening and disparaging experiences which questioned my dedication to this field of study. I decided that I would finish my degree and pursue a Master’s degree in another discipline. I learned a lot in my internships but that knowledge came at a cost of being a gopher and a witness to detrimental behaviors and work policies that were not in the best interest of the client population. I decided to stay employed in the human services field in hopes that I would find a job or career path through internships and tours of other agencies that would warrant me pursuing and finishing this degree.
One of the main reasons that I chose this field of study is because of some of the occurrences that I have been a witness to in my past. It started when I was a youth after my parents divorced. My mother struggled to raise us in the proper way and often had bouts of depression which lasted for extended periods of time. She never would seek services to help with her condition and her family as well as herself suffered because if it. It was later revealed that she thought it was normal to feel that way and her only outlet was to deal with it or pray. Well, she must have been doing a lot of praying because she did not deal with it effectively. As I was growing up, I came in contact with a lot of people that I could now say had some type of mental disorder. Neighbors would make jokes about turning certain people in to mental health so that they could get a “reward”. Drugs were also a debilitating factor in my neighborhood. I feel that some of the drug use may have been used to cope with some of the mental disorders that the users may have been experiencing.
I have volunteered for agencies such as 211 Hotline and found that I truly have a passion for the field of mental health. My educational background, work experience, and volunteerism are a testament to what I am capable of providing in regards to becoming an asset to the field of mental health. The qualities that make me a good mental health professional would be that I am empathic, genuine, open, and flexible. I have a high respect for other people and their viewpoints and am sensitive to individual differences such as gender, race, and ethnicity. Even more, I enjoy counseling and am committed to helping others grow in the mental health field. I exemplify high levels of conceptual functioning, have a clear sense of my own strengths and limitations as a counselor, and can identify how my personal traits and interpersonal style may affect the conduct of counseling. Finally, I feel such personal traits and relationship factors that I possess are considered as significant as technical prowess in counseling.
I have extensive training and wide experience in counseling, which has helped me achieve a broad perspective of the field. I can effectively employ a variety of interventions, and deliberately choose from these interventions based on my assessment of a client’s learning needs, learning style, and personal characteristics. I seek ongoing growth in counseling and supervision through continuing education activities, self-evaluation, and feedback from supervisees, clients, other supervisors, and colleagues. I believe I have a wealth of knowledge and experience to properly work in field of mental health. I affirm that I will be attuned to the needs of those seeking the services of mental health and those who contribute to this field as well.